Consumers Union to Equifax CEO: Response to data breach “wholly inadequate,” critical changes needed

Experts

Vice President, Policy & Mobilization
Communications Director
Sr. Media Relations Associate

Thursday, September 14, 2017

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a letter to Equifax CEO Richard Smith, Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, today said the company’s response to its massive data breach was “wholly inadequate” and called on Equifax to take a number of steps to repair the serious harm and ongoing risks to consumers.

“Consumers injured by this breach should be the company’s first and foremost priority, and Equifax should commit to their protection and to making them whole,” wrote Jessica Rich, Consumer Reports vice president of consumer policy and mobilization, and Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology policy for Consumers Union.

Consumers Union said Equifax has a “responsibility to offer consumers the best resources and tools to protect themselves,” and outlined seven steps that it believes the company must take in light of the breach:

  • Pay for credit freezes
  • Extend credit monitoring for affected consumers
  • Provide more detailed information about the security incident
  • Remove all mandatory arbitration clauses
  • Commit to hiring and training sufficient staff to review and process disputes promptly
  • Set aside a fund to compensate consumers whose data has been exposed
  • Investigate allegations of insider trading and hold wrongdoers accountable

The full text of the letter (PDF) is available online here.

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Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org202-579-7935, or Kara Kelber, kara.kelber@consumer.org

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 7 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its policy and mobilization division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.